Make a Difference Monday spotlights volunteers who have made a difference in the community through volunteering for City events, programs, or projects. These volunteers have exemplified:
Good work ethic
Being a positive role model
Being proactive/Showing initiative
Being a team player
Creativity and imagination
June 2017: Loyalty Club Awardees 2016
Forty-four volunteers truly made a difference in Santa Clarita by contributing 100 or more volunteer hours to City programs in 2016. These Loyalty Club awardees are: Jessica Babos, Bailey Brann, Jino Chough, Dan Chukwuegbo, Jason d’Autremont, Marcus Dawson, Alan Dey, Shayna Divita, Mitzi Esquivel, Maryo Felfel, Janette Garcia, Rosalyn Glenn, Larry Hernandez, Orlando Hernandez, Steve Ioerger, CJ Jones, Rebecca Judd, Nathan Katz, Austin Lauffer, Max Lee, Brenda Lopez, Ron Leibsker, Mike Mackey, Ann Makar, Mimi Mason, Javier Mata, Jr., Justin McWilson, Dikran Melkonian, Joe Miele, Laura Praskin, Chad Phillips, Lawrence Phillips, Stephen Phillips, Melissa Relis, Michael Rimkunas, Michael Schena, Delia Smith, Lynn Turner, Emma Urosevic, Hailey Veloz, Kim Wilson, MacKenzie Wrage, Matthew Yahata, and Dan Young. Thank you for all that you do!
April 2017: Doug & Judy Penman – Events
Doug and Judy Penman are devoted City volunteers, particularly for the Cowboy Festival. They have been volunteering for the Festival every year since 1995 (a year after the Festival started). Doug and Judy are such avid Cowboy volunteers that they chose to renew their wedding vows at the Festival a few years ago and will once again celebrate their wedding anniversary (their 45th!) by volunteering at the event in April. Thank you for your dedication, Doug and Judy!
March 2017: Marc Ferris – Youth Sports Program
Marc has been volunteering for the City’s Youth Sports Program for the past four years. He is a great coach and a wonderful role model for the youth he works with, always bringing out the best in his players. Win or lose, Coach Mark emphasizes teamwork and a positive attitude. He always encourages his players to work hard and better themselves. Thank you for making a difference in these youth’s lives!
February 2017: Riley Seow – Newhall Community Center
Riley has been volunteering at the Newhall Community Center for almost two years now. She volunteers with homework help, reading, and sports/organized games, and encourages her friends to volunteer as well. Riley uses her musical talent to help in the music classes, working closely with the instructors, bringing extra sheet music for the kids and sharing her love for music with them. Riley is a role model and inspiration to the youth at the Center.
December 2016: Jeff Armendariz, Barry Edzant, Louis Esbin, & John Kunak – Community Court Diversion Program
Jeff, Barry, Louis, and John are local attorneys who volunteer as judges for the City’s Community Court Diversion Program. They hear and weigh each case carefully, and ensure that appropriate sentences are given to each teen who goes through Community Court. They share words of advice and poignant examples to help teens learn from their mistakes and make good choices. They truly make a difference, and their time and dedication are critical to the success of the program.
November 2016 Spotlight: Steve Milne – Youth Sports
Steve has been a dedicated volunteer coach with the City’s Youth Sports Program for more than two years. His passion, selfless attitude, and positive outlook make him an outstanding role model for the youth he mentors and coaches. Thank you for all that you do, Coach Steve!
October 2016 Spotlight: Santa Clarita Runners Club – Marathon
The Santa Clarita Runners Club has been a prolific partner of the City of Santa Clarita for the Santa Clarita Marathon from the beginning. A dedicated group of Runners Club members organized the first Santa Clarita Marathon in 1995, and many of those volunteers are still active with the event. Club members serve as advisors and advocates for the Marathon, help promote the event, handle runner registration, coordinate with Race Central, set up pace groups to help other runners, and provide information at the Volunteer Orientation, among others. They are an integral part of the Marathon and are instrumental in the event’s success every year.
September 2016 Spotlight: Barbara Dinius, Maryann Germek, Marion Ostrom – Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) Program
In recognition of National Preparedness Month, the City spotlights Barbara, Maryann and Marion, active CERT volunteers who provide preparedness information to the public at the annual Emergency Expo, participate at business employee safety fairs, and help with the City’s quarterly disaster simulations. They are very dedicated volunteers who inspire others with their enthusiasm, professionalism, and commitment to helping the community be better prepared for disasters, evidenced in their active participation in their neighborhood emergency preparedness group.
August 2016 Spotlight: Katie Cummings, Gilda Cruz-Manglapus, Sarah Stoddard – Community Court Diversion Program
Katie, Gilda, and Sarah, trauma nurses from Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, have been volunteering for the City’s Community Court Diversion Program for several years. They teach teen participants about the consequences of reckless driving, help them understand why teens have a higher risk of being involved in traffic-related incidents, and share important tips on how to avoid collisions. These nurses go above and beyond to help Santa Clarita teens be safe while on the road.
July 2016 Spotlight: Shannon Celaya – Park Sierra Homework Help, Jakes Way and Granada Villa Neighborhood Committees
Shannon has been volunteering with the City’s Neighborhood Committees for the past five years. She is proactive, passionate, and committed to the well-being of the community. Shannon is a positive role model for youth and teens in the Park Sierra Apartments in the Jakes Way neighborhood, and is a dedicated volunteer for the Homework Help Program. She takes the initiative to take care of the site and assists with reporting graffiti to keep the neighborhood graffiti-free.
June 2016 Spotlight: Brian Kunkel – Santa Clarita Emergency Communications Team (SCECT), Events
Brian is the volunteer City Radio Officer for the Santa Clarita Emergency Communications Team (SCECT), the team of amateur radio operators who stand ready for emergencies and special events for the City. He coordinates the team’s communication assignments for events such the Amgen Tour of California, Marathon, Cowboy Festival, Concerts in the Park, CERT disaster simulations, and City exercises, such as the Point of Dispensing for Seasonal Flu Vaccinations. Brian is a dedicated volunteer, with a strong commitment to public service, and the City is very fortunate to have him on our City Team.
May 2016 Spotlight: Trinity Aberin, Jenny Guerrero, Jake Gonzalez, Vanessa Hernandez, Amy Hwang – Canyon Country Jo Ann Darcy Library
These teens are officers of three service groups at Canyon High School and serve as liaisons between a network of teen volunteers and the public library. They recruit volunteers from their respective service groups on-campus and on social media and, in the process, also promote and help create awareness about library programs and services. These teens truly make a difference and are excellent ambassadors for their school, their clubs, the Santa Clarita Public Library, and the City!
April 2016 Spotlight: Ginny Murray – Events
Ginny is one of the City’s most prolific event volunteers. She and her husband Omer have been volunteering for the City for years. In 2015 alone, Ginny has given more than 60 hours to help in almost all of the City’s events, including the Cowboy Festival, Earth Arbor Day, Amgen Tour of California, River Rally, Youth Sports & Healthy Families Festival, and the Thanksgiving Community Dinner. Ginny is always helpful, dependable, and can be counted on to lend a hand where needed. Thank you, Ginny, for being a part of the City’s events and contributing to their success!
March 2016 Spotlight: Tom & Alice Renolds – Every 15 Minutes, Traffic Court, Youth Grove, Blue Ribbon Task Force
Tom and Alice have been volunteering with the City to promote safe teen driving for over a decade now. They were a driving force for the creation of the Youth Grove in Central Park, speak regularly at the Every 15 Minutes Program in local high schools, and meet with teens at the Youth Grove as part of the City’s Traffic Court Program. They continue to share their moving, personal story of losing two sons to reckless driving, and urge teens to always make good choices. Thank you, Tom and Alice, for your dedication and your genuine concern for the youth in our community.
February 2016 Spotlight: Joe Miele – Youth Sports
Joe has been volunteering as a coach for the City’s Youth Basketball League for more than two years. He promotes hard work, responsibility, teamwork, and having a positive outlook both on and off the court. He is very involved with the youth he coaches, and always advocates for his players to better themselves and those around them. There are very few volunteer coaches as engaged and passionate about the youth than Joe. Thanks for all you do, Coach Joe!
January 2016 Spotlight: Bob Norman – Canyon Country Community Center, Events
Bob has been volunteering with the 50+ programs and events at the Canyon Country Community Center for the past three years. He has shown initiative and commitment in leading some of the Center’s senior programs, particularly the Big Band Dance. He is also a big advocate of the Center, sharing news of programs and events with others in the community. Bob is a reliable volunteer and, in addition to helping at the Canyon Country Community Center, volunteers with most of the City’s special events.
December Spotlight: Steve Ioerger – Open Space & Trails, SCECT
Steve has been helping build and maintain the City’s trails for the past few years, including a trail in Elsmere Canyon, the Highland Trail in Wildwood Canyon, and the Elder Trail in Rivendale/Taylor Open Space. Steve is very dedicated, and puts together and oversees other volunteers on a regular basis for these trail projects so the public can access and enjoy the City’s Open Space properties. Steve is also an active member of the Santa Clarita Emergency Communications Team.
November Spotlight: Dan Young – Youth Sports
Dan Young has officiated over 400 basketball games as a volunteer coach over the past eight years and continues to donate his time to the Youth Sports Program. His outgoing attitude, selflessness, and love of sports have made an impact on those around him. He is a true team player and has helped participants learn the game and practice good sportsmanship, while also sharing his knowledge of officiating with the younger, newer officials in the program.
October Spotlight: Dru Hiller – Canyon Country Community Center
Dru has been volunteering as an instructor for the Child Development classes at the Canyon Country Community Center. She has helped the program grow, and has demonstrated her passion and commitment by volunteering two to three days a week. She always has a positive and caring attitude, and encourages children to grow and learn. Dru also helps with special events, and is an exemplary volunteer at the Center.
September Spotlight: LDS Missionaries – Open Space & Trails, Events, Projects
Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) have been consistently volunteering for various City projects and events. Earlier this year, they dug tree wells, cleared trails, and removed metal fences in the Quigley Canyon Open Space. They have been involved in beautification and clean-up projects, and have also volunteered for events, including the Cowboy Festival, Amgen Tour of California, Earth Arbor Day, and the Youth Sports & Healthy Families Festival. The City enjoys this win-win partnership with LDS whose missionaries are truly making a difference in the community.
July Spotlight: Rosalyn Glenn – Finance Division, Events
Rosalyn has volunteered her time and service to the Finance Division for the past six years. She comes in every Monday to assist with filing, sorting, and scanning at Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivables. Rosalyn is also a dedicated volunteer at many City events. She has gained the respect and admiration of staff with her commitment, positive attitude, professionalism, good work ethic, and trustworthiness.
June Spotlight: John Winslow – Public Library
John comes faithfully each week to both the Valencia Library and Old Town Newhall Library to read books to small groups of children as part of the STAR (Storytelling and Reading) Program. He is kind and patient with each child, and always has a positive attitude. Because John is so consistent, library patrons have begun to come on a regular basis to hear him read. John has done an amazing job in helping children discover the joy of books and reading.
May Spotlight: Nicole Dean – Events
Nicole has been an active volunteer for many of the City’s events, including the Thanksgiving Community Dinner, Eggstravaganza Egg Stuffing, Splash-and-Dash Egg Hunt, Earth Arbor Day, and Cowboy Festival. She always demonstrates good customer service and a positive attitude, whether towards other volunteers, staff, or event attendees. She works hard at whatever volunteer job she is assigned and is proactive. During this year’s Earth Arbor Day Festival, Nicole took the initiative to train new volunteers at her booth and made them feel welcomed, thus, building a cohesive team of volunteers in her area.
VALERIE JONES – Youth Sports Volleyball
Valerie has been a volunteer coach for the City’s Volleyball Program for three years now. She is a positive role model and always demonstrates her passion for the game and her commitment to the youth that she coaches. Valerie recently volunteered to coach two extra volleyball teams, even though she did not have a child playing in that division, to ensure that Youth Sports had enough coaches to expand the number of teams in its league, thus, allowing more children to enjoy the sport.
TODD LANGEN – Events, Parks Planning and Open Space, Graffiti Removal
Todd is a superstar volunteer! Since he started volunteering for the City of Santa Clarita, he has helped at almost all City events – Cowboy Festival, Earth Arbor Day, Eggstravaganza, Thanksgiving Community Dinner, Marathon, and River Rally, among others. He has also participated in clean-up and beautification projects at Elsmere Canyon and Quigley Canyon. While he rides his bike along the South Fork Trail, Todd is always on the look-out for graffiti and reports them to the City’s Graffiti Removal staff. He is a team player who cares about this community, always demonstrating a positive, can-do attitude, and good work ethic. Todd is one volunteer the City has always been able to count on.
LARRY NAKUTIN – Outreach & Neighborhood Services
Larry has volunteered as a Conversational English class instructor for the City’s Outreach and Neighborhood Service (ONS) team since 2011. Through his volunteer work with the City, Larry has helped over 100 residents improve their day-to-day English-speaking skills, helping them with their interactions on their jobs, business transactions, and at their children’s schools. His students come from different countries, including Columbia, Peru, Mexico, Syria, Afghanistan, India, Poland, China, Korea, Brazil and Russia. The class is part of the Outreach and Neighborhood Services efforts to promote self-sufficiency and improve quality of life in the community.
AL DEY – SCECT, Concerts in the Park Patrols, Open Space & Trails
Al is a member of the City’s Emergency Communications Team. He participates at all City events where the team is involved, including the Marathon, Amgen Tour of California, Cowboy Festival, as well as emergency simulations and exercises. Al always demonstrates commitment, responsibility, creativity, and a positive attitude. As a result of his initiative and being proactive, SCECT members now patrol at Concerts in the Park to help staff and Sheriff deputies monitor the events and help enhance the overall safety of concert patrons and performers.